A renowned forensic pathologist said Wednesday that the evidence in the case of disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein strongly suggests that he was strangled to death.
Back in August, a New York medical examiner officially ruled Epstein’s death in a Manhattan jail cell a suicide by hanging.
Dr. Michael Baden, an 85-year-old former New York City medical examiner with 50 years of experience in the field of forensic pathology, disputes that finding, saying the evidence points to homicidal strangulation, not suicide by hanging.
Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s brother and observed the autopsy, explained on “Fox & Friends” why he came to that conclusion. One of the reasons, he said, was because Epstein had two fractures on the left and right sides of his larynx, as well as one fracture on the left hyoid bone above the Adam’s apple.
“Those three fractures are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation,” Baden, who is also a Fox News contributor, told the hosts.
He said that there was not enough information to be conclusive quite yet, but stressed: “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”
Baden has examined more than 20,000 bodies and worked on many high-profile cases in his five decade career, including O.J. Simpson, President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, record producer Phil Spector, New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.
The famed doctor also explained that there is much more pressure put on the neck in strangulation deaths than in deaths by hanging, and pointed out that there were hemorrhages in Epstein’s eyes that were common in homicidal strangulation and uncommon in suicidal hangings.
“The prominent hemorrhage in the soft tissues of the neck next to the fractures is evidence of a fresh neck compression that could have caused the death,” Baden said.
He told the Fox hosts that his independent study was not complete because all the information has not yet come in.
Baden said Epstein’s family is still waiting to hear about DNA evidence that could help prove whether or not someone else was involved in Epstein’s death.
The family, he said, has been demanding for more than two months to see the test results from the DNA evidence on the sheet that had been twisted and put around Epstein’s neck.
“Whoever it is would have their DNA all over the ligature,” he said. “We don’t have those results yet,” he added, saying those results “should be reported quickly to give an idea and lessen the speculation.”
Baden says the family has also asked for DNA testing results from Epstein’s fingernails, which could show if he fought back against someone choking him to death.
He told the Fox hosts that immediately after the autopsy, New York City Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said more information was needed to determine the cause of death. Then, just four days later, it was ruled a suicide by hanging.
“It appears that this could have been a mistake,” Baden said. “There’s evidence here of homicide that should be investigated, to see if it is or isn’t homicide.”
Epstein previously was discovered on July 23 — over two weeks before his death — on the floor of his prison cell with marks around his neck, after which he was placed on suicide watch.
He was taken off suicide watch a week later and put in another cell with a roommate, Baden said — but the second inmate was taken out a few days after that, leaving Epstein alone in the cell.
Then, on the day Epstein was found dead, the prison security experienced what Baden called a “total breakdown” in procedure.
“It was determined that the two guards who were supposed to be working in that area of the prison had allegedly fallen asleep and hadn’t made their 30-minute rounds for more than 3 hours,” he said.
Simultaneously, the two security cameras that were supposed to be recording the cell and the hallway outside, to see who went in and out, both apparently malfunctioned, Baden pointed out.
Mark Epstein, Jeffrey’s brother, hired Baden to perform an independent investigation because the family wasn’t getting answers. Baden said his client was concerned that his own life could be in danger because the powerful and ruthless people who were involved in Epstein’s perverted activities do not want the dirt to come out.
“If they think he has information, his life could be in jeopardy,” he said.
Prosecutors alleged that the previously convicted sex offender paid girls as young as 14 hundreds of dollars for massages before he molested them in his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., between 2002 and 2005. He was awaiting trial in federal prison, thus federal agencies — presumably the FBI and Justice Department — had jurisdiction over the investigation into his death, Baden explained.
Attorney General William Barr said last August that officials had uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail, and promised that the Epstein case would continue to be investigated in order to bring to justice any other possible conspirators.